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Showing posts from June, 2012

Is wine a functional food?

Then again, didn’t all foods used to be functional? In the modern era of bulging waistlines, it would seem that nutrition has taken a back seat to processed foods engineered to tweak our taste buds and pleasure centers in the brain. And it is all too easy – and wrong – to cast wine as merely empty calories. But can we really consider wine to be a food, especially a nutritious one?
To begin with, the term “functional food” means that it contains specific nutrients with identifiable health benefits. Sometimes these are added in, as with vitamins A and D in milk or calcium in orange juice. The way I see it, in a well-balanced diet there shouldn’t be a need for such enhancements. Wine for example naturally contains an abundance of antioxidant polyphenols, nutritionally vital ingredients that are increasingly lacking in many foods. A glass of wine with dinner on a daily basis is associated with longer life and better health by a variety of measures, a claim difficult to prove with vitamin s…